DACRE, Sir Thomas (by 1527-66), of Naworth, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1527, 1st s. of William, 3rd Lord Dacre of Gilsland, by Elizabeth, da. of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury; bro. of Francis and Leonard. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland, s.p.; (2) by 1556, Elizabeth, da. of Sir James Leyburn of Cunswick, Westmld., 2s. 3da. Kntd. Sept. 1547; suc. fa. as 4th Lord Dacre 18 Nov. 1563.1

Offices Held

J.p.q. Cumb. 1554-d.; commr. gaol delivery, Carlisle 1554.2


There were two knights of this name in Cumberland, Sir Thomas Dacre of Lanercost, an illegitimate son of Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre, and the son and heir of the 3rd Lord Dacre. They were usually distinguished as the elder and the younger, and it was as Sir Thomas Dacre junior that the second of them was returned as knight of the shire for Cumberland to the Parliament of October 1553. Nothing is known of his role in the Commons save for the negative evidence that he was not listed as one of the Members who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism.3

Dacre had been knighted at Roxburgh in 1547 and he probably spent most of his life assisting his father in the west marches. He was, however, far less prominent in this activity than either his younger brother Leonard or his uncle of Lanercost, who was appointed deputy warden of the west marches in November 1552. He succeeded to the barony in November 1563 (but was never to take his seat in the Lords) and had licence to enter on his lands on 24 June 1564. In the same year the bishop of Carlisle reported that ‘my Lord Dacre, but especially my lady his wife are to be reformed in religion’, in her case at least a hope which was not fulfilled. After his death it was reported that Dacre had won the hearts of the country by his house-keeping, an achievement which may help to explain his receipt in January 1565 of a licence to alienate, during his second wife’s lifetime, lands in Cumberland, Shropshire and Yorkshire, to Thomas Carus, William Rosewell, Thomas Preston and Lawrence Banester.4

Dacre died at Kirkoswald, apparently intestate, on 1 July 1566. His son Francis, a godson of the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, had died six months earlier, and his heir George was not yet five years old. In November 1567 the wardship was granted to the 4th Duke of Norfolk, who in the previous January had married Lady Dacre and whose sons were to marry her daughters.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., CP.
  • 2. CPR, 1553-4, p. 18; 1554-5, p. 106; 1560-3, p. 435; 1563-6, p. 20.
  • 3. Nicolson and Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. ii. 501-3.
  • 4. APC, vi. 95; CPR, 1550-3, p. 259; 1563-6, pp. 3, 264; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 50; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 255.
  • 5. CPR, 1566-9, pp. 38-39; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 359; N. Williams, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, 126-7.